Yesterday, I spent a good portion of my day baking cookies with my 3-year-old daughter. Christmas cutouts in the shapes of gingerbread men, the making of which somehow dispersed sprinkles, flour and dough into nearly every nook and cranny of our home.
My daughter had a blast, and so did I. But this was the same recipe I have been making for dozens of years, since I was about her age. Tradition is great, comforting, and fun—but I have vowed to try something new this week and treat my family to a new recipe that will surprise them as long as it’s not burned (which, actually, would be no surprise!).
During the hours that we spent baking, I got to thinking: this principle could be used in the world of social media. So many businesses are trying to leave their mark on Twitter and Facebook. They set up accounts, send out some tweets or posts, and hope all of their efforts make an impact on the bottom line and generate sales.
But as social media marketers (which all business people are, these days), we should always be experimenting, adding new ingredients to our social recipe, and trying something new to keep our followers following. Here are some ideas to keep your Twitter kitchen churning out tweets worth viewing:
Keep it fresh: It takes the right mix of ingredients to make a good recipe. The same goes for social media. If you’re sending out the same tweet every day, people will start to overlook what you post. Keep your tweets interesting and timely. Mix it up! Don’t always tweet about the same subject matter. Make it interesting. Throughout the day, write a couple of tweets about your company. Then include a few informative tweets with tips or news. Have a special offer reserved only for your Twitter followers. Variety is the spice of life…and tweets!
Keep it frequent: The more you bake, the better baker you’ll be and the greater the chance someone will have to sample your offerings. Sending out one tweet per day or a few tweets within an hour might make not much of an impact nor reach many followers. It helps to spread your tweets out over the course of the day. There are programs out there that allow you to schedule tweets to help cover more hours. Sprout Social, Social Oomph and Twuffer are some examples of services that let you pre-program a tweet.
Make it fun: Baking Christmas cookies is all about fun—together! Don’t just send out one-way communiques. Engage your followers. Ask them questions. Get their feedback. Post a survey, hold a contest, a Twitter party or chat. Make your Twitter account fun and something people look forward to viewing. Get your followers talking and they’ll most likely help spread the word about your event and in turn, your company. Don’t talk to your followers. Have a conversation with them.
Make it stand out: Which one would you grab first: a plain cookie or one with frosting & sprinkles? Each tweet you send has the potential either to be overlooked or read. With so many tweets appearing each hour in our timeline, we look for ones that grab our attention either by whom they’re from or how they appear. Try to use language that will get your tweets noticed. Using caps can be effective if you use them sparingly. Write as if you’re talking to a friend (which your followers are!) not like you’re writing a memo. Be conversational. Make your tweets easy to read and succinct. Try to avoid too many abbreviations. The shorter, the better.
Give them something to tweet about: People like to share recipes that are fabulous! So give them tweets that they’ll find so interesting and helpful they will want to share them with their followers. If you just tweet about your own company, you might not generate much sustained interest or retweets. Tweet about what’s happening with you, but also tweet about news, topics and tips your followers might find interesting enough to retweet. Set up a blog and write informative, helpful posts then tweet a link to that post. Make your tweets worth reading and sharing.
The bottom line: Creating a great batch of cookies takes time. Social media won’t instantly bring in big sales. It’s more about creating and building relationships and gaining (and keeping) the attention of your followers. So experiment. Try new things. And alter your recipe now and then to learn what works and what does not. Keep it fresh and you just might find that your efforts lead to followers who are hungry for more.
Tags: business, social media, twitter tips